Multisensory GPS impact on spatial representation in an immersive virtual reality driving game

Laura Seminati, Jacob Hadnett-Hunter, Richard Joiner, Karin Petrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Individuals are increasingly relying on GPS devices to orient and find their way in their environment and research has pointed to a negative impact of navigational systems on spatial memory. We used immersive virtual reality to examine whether an audio–visual navigational aid can counteract the negative impact of visual only or auditory only GPS systems. We also examined the effect of spatial representation preferences and abilities when using different GPS systems. Thirty-four participants completed an IVR driving game including 4 GPS conditions (No GPS; audio GPS; visual GPS; audio–visual GPS). After driving one of the routes in one of the 4 GPS conditions, participants were asked to drive to a target landmark they had previously encountered. The audio–visual GPS condition returned more accurate performance than the visual and no GPS condition. General orientation ability predicted the distance to the target landmark for the visual and the audio–visual GPS conditions, while landmark preference predicted performance in the audio GPS condition. Finally, the variability in end distance to the target landmark was significantly reduced in the audio–visual GPS condition when compared to the visual and audio GPS conditions. These findings support theories of spatial cognition and inform the optimisation of GPS designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7401
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date5 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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